Since my last review of men wielding swords, albeit in a slightly more familiar land, I have read three books, all of which were from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy series and, more precisely, from The City Watch sequence. Because I have a little bit of a bad habit of judging a book by its cover, I started with book six (Night Watch), before moving on to book five (The Fifth Elephant), then book seven (Thud!). I am currently reading book one (Guards! Guards!).
Though I do mildly regret starting with Night Watch, as the time travelling element would have been more enjoyable had I known the older versions of the characters, one of the beauties of the Discworld series is the ease with which you can pick it up from anywhere in the series. This is the message I hope to convey most of all in this review: do not be intimidated by the long list of books in front of you. All of the books I have read so far are more than accessible to a new reader, even if you do miss some nods and winks (and the occasional elbow nudge).
The reason I first picked up Night Watch is because I read that it was a detective fantasy novel involving a policeman travelling to his own past along with a murderer, set in the back drop of a revolution. If this doesn’t make you want to read it then I’m sorry but we can’t be friends.
Our protagonist is the straight as an arrow Captain, later Commander/Duke, Sam Vimes, who commands a merry band of misfits including, among others: dwarfs, trolls, werewolves, golems, humans, and Nobby Nobbs (who is classified as human presumably because none of the other species would have him). The narration is witty and charming, the characters varied and loveable, and the stories surprisingly engaging. If a battle with a dragon isn’t your cup of tea, then why not explore the politicking between dwarves, werewolves, and vampires, or a murder mystery with the added threat of a troll/dwarf war looming.
I probably don’t need to tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying the City Watch series. The fact that I am on my fourth consecutive novel did that well enough. Pratchett’s style is unlike any I’ve read before and suddenly that long list of Discworld books seems more like a blessing rather than a mountain to climb.
By Andy Wright.
Thanks for reading our review of Night Watch. We’re sure they’ll be plenty more Terry Pratchett Discworld reviews in the coming months, so emails subscribe or follow us on twitter @Sentient_Ink to hear when they’re up. While you’re waiting, you can, and must, read our review of the Colour of Magic (by Terry Pratchett, of Course), the first ever instalment of the Discworld series, starting what is one of the most famous and beloved fantasy sagas of all time.
You can also have a look at our own fantasy stories: There is the Demons’ Cry, and epic fantasy story; Footsteps, a delightful piece of fantasy prose; and the Yesterday Key, and eerie fantasy short story. Enjoy!